The Problem: Americans Burn 20 Million Barrels of Oil Each Day

You read that right. Twenty million barrels.

As a result, we’re running out of oil, we’re dependent on the (often unfriendly) countries that have oil, and we’re heating up the atmosphere around our planet.

The 1990s were the hottest ten years in recorded history. Glaciers all over the world are melting. Sea ice is retreating in the Arctic and Antarctic. If the polar icecaps melt, New York City, much of Florida, and many other parts of the world will be under water.

I’m not trying to scare you. I’m trying to motivate you to help solve the biggest problem in the world.

What you are about to read is not going to be entertaining. There are no pretty pictures here. No cute animations or jokes. But please don’t stop reading. This is important.


There used to be commercial on TV all the time for Doritos, I think. The slogan was, “Eat all you want. We’ll make more.”

Well, we can’t make more oil. You burn a gallon of gas, and it’s gone forever. It took millions of years to create the oil, gas, and coal that human beings burned in the last hundred years. Some experts believe we have less than fifty years worth of oil left. That means that within your lifetime, it could all be gone.

Even if there were unlimited supplies of oil, we could not continue as we have been. Burning fossil fuels causes pollution, global warming, and a host of other environmental problems.

People often assume that human beings and nature are independent of one another. In fact, we need nature and nature doesn’t need us. As fossil fuels are burned, they release gases that warm Earth and increase the chance of heat waves, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and droughts. As the ice shelves and glaciers melt, it threatens coastlines, destroys agriculture, and threatens to exterminate biodiversity–the plants and animals that support our lives. As people burn or cut down the rain forests of some distant country, it impacts our air quality, water supply, and crops. All our food and most medicines were originally derived from nature. Everything is tied together in a vast and complicated global life-support apparatus.


I know what you’re thinking. Why is this MY problem? I’m just a kid. I didn’t cause it. Why should I have to solve it?

I’ll tell you why. In ten short years, you’re going to be a young adult. It will be YOUR world. And down the line, the people who brought on all these problems (that would be MY generation and my parents’ generation) will no longer be around to fix them.

Did you ever go camping? You’re supposed to leave the campsite in better condition than it was when you arrived. Well, Earth is our campsite. Your grandparents and parents have not taken very good care of our campsite. If your generation doesn’t clean up the mess, you’re going to have to find another planet to camp on.

And that’s not going to happen.


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